How does Shakespeare show conflict between the children and their parents in Romeo and Juliet?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A couple of ways in which Shakespeare shows the conflicts between Romeo and Juliet and their parents are through dialogue and plot development.

Romeo's conflict with his parents is especially portrayed through dialogue in the very first scene. His conflict with his parents is seen in his refusal to confide in his parents and tell them his woes. As we learn in the first scene, both his parents have noticed that Romeo is in a deeply troubled state of mind. His father has observed that Romeo is staying out all night, night after night, sleeping in the daytime, and is also seen crying each morning at dawn under a grove of trees in a certain part of town. Though Lord Montague has tried to find out from Romeo what is troubling him to give him some advice, Romeo refuses to say. Lord Montague worries that if Romeo continues in this state of mind, he may cause himself serious injury or even death, as we see in Lord Capulet's lines, "Black and portentous must this humour prove / Unless good counsel may the cause remove" (I.i.137-38).

Shakespeare shows Juliet's own conflict with her parents through plot development. Her conflict concerns the fact that they want her to marry Paris, while she at first does not want to get married and then falls in love with Romeo. At first the conflict concerning Paris is not a great conflict because, while it is evident that her mother wants her to marry Count Paris as soon as possible, her father actually refuses Paris's request for Juliet's hand in marriage, wanting Juliet to wait until she is at least 16 to marry. However, Lord Capulet's view on Juliet marrying young changes when Tybalt is killed. Lord Capulet sees his daughter is grieving bitterly over what he thinks is Tybalt's death and feels that such deep grief, if left unattended, will be harmful for her. Therefore, he makes the decision that marrying Paris will provide for her good protection, plus offer her a happy distraction to help take her mind off of her grief. However, sparks fly when Juliet refuses to marry Paris, making this an even greater conflict between Juliet and her parents. Her father even threatens to disown her if she refuses, as we see in his lines:

An you be mine, I'll give you to my friend [Count Paris];
An you be not, hang, beg, starve, die in the streets,
For, by my soul, I'll ne'er acknowledge thee. (III.v. 200-02) 

Hence we see that her father's sudden choice to contradict his own earlier wiser decision creates a great conflict between Juliet and her parents.

j-hing | Student

Well conflict is clearly show between Juliet and her father in Act 3 scene 5 D: and as for Romeo they is not a particularly close relationship between him and the parents as in the first act they are unable to comfort Romeo about his problems and he turns to his Bestfriend Benvolio.